Christianity

All the virtues…

1. CONCERNING exterior discipline, and what practice is best and first, know this, beloved, that all the virtues are  bound up together. The one is linked to the other, like a kind of spiritual chain ; prayer to love, love to joy, joy to  meekness, meekness to humility, humility to service, service  to hope, hope to faith, faith to obedience, obedience to  simplicity. And on the opposite side, evil things are bound one to another, hatred to anger, anger to pride,  pride to vainglory, vainglory to unbelief, unbelief to hardness of heart, hardness of heart to carelessness, carelessness to sloth, sloth to sullenness, sullenness to want of  endurance, want of endurance to love of pleasure. The other parts of vice likewise are dependent upon each other;  so also on the good side the virtues are dependent on each other and connected.

2. But the chief of all good endeavour, the topmost of right actions, is perseverance in prayer. From it we may daily gain increasingly the rest of the virtues through asking them of God. By it is formed, in those to whom it is vouchsafed, the fellowship of the holiness of God and of spiritual energy, and the attachment of the disposition of the mind to the Lord in love unspeakable. The man who compels himself every day to persevere in prayer is enflamed with divine affection and fiery longing by spiritual love towards God, and receives the grace of the sanctifying perfection of the Spirit.

— Pseudo-Macarius, “Fifty spiritual homilies of St. Macarius the Egyptian”

Christianity

Why the Holy Scripture was given to us by God

As a king writes letters to those upom whom he whishes to confer patents and special gifts, and signifies to them all, “endevour to come quickle to me, that you may receive from me royal gifts”; and if they do not come and receive them, they will be none the better off for having read the letters, but, on the contrary, are liable to be put to death for not choosing to go and be honoured by the king’s hand; so God; the King, has sent to men the holy scriptures as His letters, declaring by them that they should pray to God and believing should ask and receive a heavelnly gift of the substance of His Godhead; for it is written, That we should be made partakers of the divine nature.

macariusthegreatBut if the man will not come, and ask, and receive, he is none the better off having read the scriptures, but is rather liable to death, because he did not choose to receive from the heavenly King the gift of life, without which it is impossible to obtain immortal life, which is Christ. To whom be the glory for ever. Amen.

— Pseudo-Macarius, “Fifty spiritual homilies of St. Macarius the Egyptian”